Henry ‘Hank’ Krumholz, stalwart pioneer of Queens LGBTQ Pride, dies at 73

Henry Krumholz played an integral role in the growth of the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights. He died Sunday, one week after the 31st annual march.
Photo courtesy of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, Daniel Dromm Collection

Henry “Hank” Krumholz, a pioneering gay rights activist in Queens, passed away on Sunday in his Flushing apartment at the age of 73.

Krumholz played a crucial role in the establishment and success of the Queens LGBTQ Pride Parade, which is held annually in Jackson Heights. He joined the parade’s sponsoring organization right after its inaugural event in 1993 and continued his involvement for decades. His passing came just a week after this year’s parade on June 2, marking its 31st anniversary.

Photo courtesy of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, Daniel Dromm Collection

“There was no one more dedicated to Queens Pride than Hank,” said former Council Member Daniel Dromm, who co-founded the parade. “There wasn’t a job Hank wouldn’t be the first to volunteer to do. We spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in my apartment organizing because, as he would say, ‘Pride work is never done,’ in fact, folks would refer to Hank as my ‘Hus,’ short for husband, because we were so often seen together.”

Before retiring, Krumholz worked at the United States Postal Service, notably in the Bulk Mail Unit in Whitestone, where his expertise was invaluable to the Queens Pride efforts. “It was before fax machines, before emails and all the mail had to be sorted by hand,” Dromm said. “Hank knew all the regulations down to how to wrap rubber bands around letters by zip code, enabling the Pride committee to send out thousands of letters to supporters and elected officials.”

Photo courtesy of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, Daniel Dromm Collection

Krumholz was always well regarded by the local community newspapers, which relied on him as a liaison, source of information and help for their mailings.

Photo courtesy of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, Daniel Dromm Collection

The Queens Pride Parade was co-founded by Dromm and activist Maritza Martinez, sparked by the tragic murder of Julio Rivera in 1990, which ignited a wave of activism in Jackson Heights. In 2016, the documentary “Julio of Jackson Heights” highlighted these events, with filmmaker Richard Shpuntoff acknowledging Krumholz’s significant contributions: “Hank was a mensch,” Shpuntoff told QNS on Tuesday. “He was dedicated to Queens Pride for over two decades and back in the early days when everything was done by mail, Hank played a critical role in getting the word out about everything from fundraising appeals to organizing for the Parade.”

Revelers make their way across 37th Avenue during the 31st annual Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights on Sunday, June 2, 2024. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Beyond organizing, Krumholz was deeply involved in the day-to-day preparations for the parade, from placing vendors to sweeping the streets. He also played a key role in securing advertisers for the Winter Pride Journal, a critical funding source for the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee. From its first parade, which attracted 10,000 spectators, the event has grown significantly, drawing crowds up to six times larger in recent years.

“Hank Krumholz will always be remembered as the quiet, stalwart, behind-the-scenes individual who helped pave the path to the LGBTQ+ rights we enjoy today in Queens and beyond,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “Hank’s overall activism, kindness and great sense of humor will never be forgotten, especially by those of us who knew him.”

In 1995, Krumholz achieved another milestone by securing the first-ever Queens lesbian and gay USPS postal cancellation, issued from a temporary post office truck during the festival on 76th Street.

Krumholz is survived by his brother, Lester, a niece and a nephew.

“Hank broke through prejudices and stereotypes in Queens, which at the time of the inception of the Queens Pride Parade was still known as the home of Archie Bunker,” Dromm remarked, reflecting on Krumholz’s legacy, “Every LGBTQIA+ person in Queens owes Hank a huge debt of gratitude for bringing us where we are today. Rest in peace and power, my friend.”